Homeland Security From Clinton To Bush: An Assessment
Authors: Lansford, Tom (University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast)
Abstract: In spite of spectacular acts of terrorism and a variety of failed or foiled plots during the 1990s in the United States, efforts to formulate and implement significant homeland security policies were unsuccessful until the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks. Both the Clinton and pre-11 September 2001 Bush administrations were aware of the potential for serious terrorist acts within the territory of the United States. Both presidents faced major terrorist attacks early in their terms. Nonetheless, a variety of domestic pressures and interests prevented a more proactive counter-terrorism program and impeded the development of more effective homeland security. This essay examines the efforts of the Clinton administration and both the pre- and post-September 11 of the Bush administration in the realm of domestic security. Specifically, the study analyzes the failure to develop more robust counter-terrorism capabilities in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and plots in the 1990s. It also outlines the low priority given to counter-terrorism by the Clinton administration and the impact of cuts in funding for both counter-terrorism and intelligence operations in general. The essay concludes with an overview of the ongoing efforts of the Bush administration to overcome the problems highlighted by the 11 September attacks and the broader elevation of counter-terrorism from a criminal issue to a national security issue.